The washing machine had flooded about a week ago. I was trying to get in touch with a man who knew about these things and how to fix them. Meanwhile Mary had googled flooding washing machines and ascertained it was probably the solenoid valve. And since the flood waters had been unseasonably warm probably the hot one. (There is one on the hot inlet and a double on the cold inlet. When they fail they allow water to pass into (and out of) your machine even if it is switched off at the wall. I think they were invented by insurance companies.)
We took photos of the valve round to the shop 100 yards away and were sold a potentially suitable replacement that might sort the problem and only cost £10.90. About £140 cheaper than a new machine. This meant we were slightly later setting off on the Saturday run but that's nothing new. The forecast had been improving and the rain expected around noon onwards didn't turn up until we were finished running at 3pm. We left the engineering till later.
the sun came out for about 10 minutes
The run was really great. As we have done the last couple of times, we dropped off cup flasks at Aberlady then parked in North Berwick. Mary prefers the road back to Aberlady which is usually into the wind and then returns via the beaches and trails with the wind on her back. I think the coastal trails are hugely preferable heading West and also I enjoy racing Mary, as I have more difficult terrain and it's 2.5 miles longer. So there's no way I'm going to catch her but if I race it I just get to the bridge in time to see her pack her flask into her backpack and set off to the beach while I glug my mocho-hotto-chocco which she has fetched from it's hiding place, then catch her up.
just raced 9 miles
I didn't know if it was the chance that we may be reconciled with the washing machine later or the caffeine excess in Mary's hot drink, but she was totally high for the rest of the run, and beyond. Maybe it was the wild landscape. It had been a trial at points fighting into the teeth of the wind on my coastal race. When I passed the only other soul on Aberlady beach (an older man) I said “tough day for it” and he agreed saying it was very tough. Not sparkling conversation but with a mouthful of sand neither of us was particularly buoyant.
At least on the way back the wind urged us to run at top speed. At times you couldn't see the floor of the beach for all the sand swirling about. It was reasonably bright and Mary was in top form – she even conceded to swap the usual high tide route up to Gullane car park for a lower level scramble down some rocks and across the top of murder hill. However with it all so wild it was also quite tiring. Or maybe I was just tired after 9 miles of running a race I couldn't win. Just as we were coming back down onto the beach at Archerfields we passed some Police including Alan Aitch who couldn't stop to speak as he was on his way to the end of the bay to an “incident.” I wondered if a body had washed up on the shore. However I think it was just a fallen walker who had hurt their back and required a helicopter ride to hospital. I imagine some of the Police were there to admire the process as it seemed unlikely 8 Police could assist more effectively than 2. It was too cold to hang around rubbernecking so we continued onwards.
We were impressed with this till Mary spotted it had a wee hole at the top and we realised it may well have been manufactured elsewhere.
I was keen to get back to the car not just because I was tired but I had also had something of a wardrobe malfunction. With my 3 favourite pairs of shorts in the queue for the washing machine I ran in a pair I hadn't worn for ages. What with the exertion of the first 9 miles I could feel some unusual friction downstairs. I had a quick look as I set off after Mary at Aberlady and was a bit alarmed as most of the seam underneath was torn and quite large amounts of me were way more conspicuous than was decent. A combination of cold sandy wind and raggedy seam-edge were wreaking havoc. I thought about ripping the whole seam and fashioning a transgender Skort. I have a pal Emma who has a thing about skorts and knew she would love the photos. Thought better of it.
boys in blue
I hurried to catch Mary while thinking all the time that it couldn't be as bad as I first imagined. I was still in shock and another look would surely show it was just a half inch of damaged seam. Hmmm not really but I kind of adjusted the shorts and ran on as best as I could. It made for a long 9 miles back. And there was no shortage of police around to make arrests for exposure.
At least the rain stayed off. We eventually got back to the van and I changed hastily. I had clocked up over 19 miles of off road fun. Mary was still very full of (coffee) beans and when we got home (via Tescos) I still had just enough energy to tackle the washing machine and fit the new solenoid. We crossed fingers and held breath and spent most of the first wash standing watching, in case it threw up in the hall (there's a lot of it about currently.) Remarkably it seems to be fixed. We even left the water on all night! I have been feeling very proud and manly about the whole thing although it was very much a team effort as Mary did the research and got the project going. (And found out how to get the lid off! The internet is a marvellous thing.) Glad not to be adding ours to the mountain of dead white goods at Seafield council tip.
Sometime later and I go into the kitchen to get something to eat and drink and Mary is practising yoga on a mat in the living room, Indian music playing, incense burning. Is it Mary's dope that is making me imagine the story of our lives remade as a holywood film 40 years ago. Walter Matthau enters the large New York studio apartment and gets a beer from the fridge. “I hate christmas,” he grumbles to himself. Glenda Jackson gets up from lying on a yoga mat (with a cigarette holder dressed as women in love 20s flapper.) “Have you seen my Deepak Chopra?”“I think I caught a glimpse of it when I came in.”